Tag Archives: Virginia Newspaper Project

The Big Stone Post

Big Stone Gap Post Dec. 15, 1892

The setting for John Fox Jr.’s 1908 novel Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Big Stone Gap in Wise County is situated along the Powell River in a remote and rugged valley of the far southwestern region of Virginia. In the 1880s, the town (once known as Mineral City) had three farms, two small country stores, and a handful of mills. But the laying of several railroad lines into the Gap in the early 1890s–for the transport of coal and timber between Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee–transformed the isolated hamlet into a bustling gateway of industrial activity. As the region grew, eastern speculators promoted movement to and investment in the area.

In 1890, Colonel Charles E. Sears, first president of the Improvement Company, took over the Commercial Club and shortly thereafter established The Big Stone Post, a weekly newspaper. Colonel Sears unabashedly pitched the considerable advantages of Big Stone Gap, sending out prospectuses and placing advertisements in metropolitan newspapers throughout the East. One such prospectus, appearing in 1890 in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper in New York City, described the Gap as a “wild and picturesque defile in Big Stone Mountain, an elongated spur forming a part of the Cumberland range of mountains just to the eastward of the Kentucky State Line.” The article also boasted of the town’s electric light plant, street railway, and waterworks.

In the first issue of The Big Stone Post, published on August 15, 1890, Sears explained that his purpose was “to advertise the material resources of the Appalachian district; [and] to show to the rest of the country that Big Stone Gap possesses paramount advantage over all other locations as a manufacturing and distributing point.” The same issue reported on railroads, coke plants, and other internal improvements … read more »

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Metro Virginia News/The Public Pamphlet Two Papers/Two Dynamos

An earlier posting promised some additional remarks about a pair of recent arrivals to the LVA/VNP microfilm collection:  the Metro Virginia News and the Public Pamphlet of Leesburg, Virginia.  Rather than just a masthead, as earlier, let’s take a look at a complete front-page for each of these Northern Virginian papers.  First the weekly Metro Virginia News:

This copy of July, 1974 is an example of the paper at its best. It provides to readers detailed coverage of a local governing decision relating to an issue of increasing concern and debate: managing economic growth. The goal was to provide an alternative to the more established Loudoun Times-Mirror, a paper without competition since the mid 1950’s, and to the advantage of interested readers, they often succeeded. But, as journalist A. J. Leibling reminds,  “The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.”  The enterprise was ill-timed.  It coincided with a recession.

The Metro Virginia News published for just over two years, November of 1972 until December 1974, reaching a circulation of about 4000, some 8000 shy of the Times-Mirror.  A financial sinkhole, not profit, beckoned.  The newspaper, as well as ownership of the more solidly grounded Fauquier Democrat to the county south, was sold to Arthur Arundel, publisher of, pause, the Times-Mirror.  The Democrat continued while the Metro Virginia News, to no one’s surprise, was shuttered.

But to return to the paper’s origin – an experienced editor, a young and extremely capable staff cannot simply will itself into being.  Who provided the catalyst of money?

Again Leibling, a remark in greater circulation than of previous:  “Freedom of the Press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”  Helmi Carr, unhappy with her representation in the local … read more »

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How much was that? continued…

Advertisements from the Blue Ridge Herald (Purcellville, Virginia), Jan. 6, 1955

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How much was that?

What was the cost of tuna, sugar or rice in 1955?

How about a man’s coat?

A commode?A pair of pumps?

Advertisements are from the Blue Ridge Herald (Purcellville, Virginia) of January 6, 1955. Tune in tomorrow for more…….… read more »

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Using Chronicling America

Check out this series of video podcasts to learn how to use Chronicling America. Big thanks to the Ohio Historical Society for creating these helpful podcasts.

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Episode Title Host URL (YouTube)
NDNP Podcast 1 About the “Using Chronicling America” Podcast Series Jenni Salamon & 

Kaylie Vermillion

http://youtu.be/6NKMwneZF20
NDNP Podcast 2 What Is Chronicling America? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/Bvg73KAyTDA
NDNP Podcast 3 How Do I Browse? Kaylie Vermillion http://youtu.be/a9mD5A-c5jg
NDNP Podcast 4 How Do I Perform A Basic Search? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/cIB_Eso44B0
NDNP Podcast 5 What Will My Search Results Look Like? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/lzKLUwgzTuA
NDNP Podcast 6 How Do I Perform An Advanced Search? Kaylie Vermillion http://youtu.be/rEs4YgtpqB8
NDNP Podcast 7 How Do I Use The Image-Viewing Screen? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/iHvdqCOd4hw
NDNP Podcast 8 How Do I Zoom On An Image? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/Au-XwW50hJw
NDNP Podcast 9 How Do I Print An Image? Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/NlguUm8agBE
NDNP Podcast 10 Overcoming Historical Language Barriers & Learning Alternatives To Controlled Vocabulary Jenni Salamon http://youtu.be/L_SBG7RLQIs
NDNP Podcast 11 Understanding Keyword Searching Kaylie Vermillion http://youtu.be/Dhf8Sx0ap-Q
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Conserving to Preserve or “Ironing Newspapers”

Original condition of the May 13, 1862 issue of The New York Tribune we recently received, showing tattered edges, large tears, and old tape repairs

One of the things that I do with the Newspaper Project is mending newspapers.  Last week I repaired an issue of The New York Tribune, a 12-page newspaper from New York City dated May 13, 1862 that was recently donated to the Library.  Although it is not a Virginia newspaper, it still contains relevant information about the conduct of the war in Virginia.  Many of the articles are simply reprinted dispatches from Union Generals.  The articles on the front page describe the capture and occupation of Norfolk, Virginia.  The map depicts Union and Confederate positions just southeast of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Another interesting feature of the paper is a 4 page section listing of properties that were going to be auctioned off in order to pay off assessments.  This was a public notice that the properties could be redeemed if the owner paid the amount due with a penalty of 14% interest per year within a 2 year period.

Below are before and after photographs of reassembled pages.

Before and after images of page 1.

Before and after images of page 2. The dark spots on the paper are the result of tape residue left behind from a previous attempt to repair the newspaper.

Detail photographs of repairs using Filmoplast R.

How It is Done

With a few household items and one specialty item, I am able to make my repairs.  The required items are a pair of scissors, parchment paper (like what you would use to bake cookies — I also prefer the unbleached parchment paper), an electric iron, and Filmoplast R.   Another item that is helpful is a large smooth board to iron on.  I use a piece of 1/8″ cardboard that is not corrugated and I also have a piece of parchment paper taped onto the board.… read more »

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Donated to LVA-The Star-A High School Paper That Gets High Marks

While the Library of Virginia’s historical newspaper collection is extensive and varied, it has a genre of newspaper that may be surprising to some: twentieth century high school newspapers. Thanks to a generous donation, the Library of Virginia recently added another high school newspaper to its collection, the Star, of South Boston.  Edited and published by the students of Halifax County High School, it featured stories on student life with a graphic sophistication that encouraged comparisons to the look of a professional daily. That’s certainly one reason the Star attracted a diverse advertising base from a student hang-out such as Johnny’s Place (“Eat a Snack and You’ll Be Back”) to Wilborn’s Toytown and the Main Street department store G. J. Hunt & Son.

Issues of the Star span from 1955-1960, and offer a fascinating depiction of the teenage experience from a small city in Virginia’s southern Piedmont.

Other high school newspapers in the Library’s collection include, the Monocle (Richmond), the Highland Fling (Highland Springs), the Shooting Star (Middleburg) and Tattle Tale (Harrisonburg) among many others.

 … read more »

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Do you have old Virginia Newspapers?

A storage shelf holding stacks of deteriorating newspapers.

Despite the fact that the Library of Virginia holds the largest collection of historic Virginia newspapers with 2616 titles on microfilm and over 2000 titles in original format, we are always interested in locating new issues of old Virginia newspapers to enhance our collection.  If you or someone you know has old newspapers moldering away in an attic or basement, please send them our way.

We may be interested in your collection (even if it only a few scattered issues), especially if it contains newspaper titles we do not currently have represented in our collection.   One of our main goals at the Virginia Newspaper Project is to promote access to these one-of-a-kind primary sources.  You may donate your old newspapers or loan them to us long enough to allow us to microfilm them.  Once on microfilm, they will be available to the public at the Library of Virginia and through our inter-library loan service.  We are available to travel to your location to pick-up original newspapers, and depending on the quantity and condition of your newspapers, we can usually complete the microfilming task in the course of several months.  If it is a significant collection, we can also provide a copy of the microfilm to be deposited to your local library so it may be used by your community.

You may direct your questions and inquiries to our Director Errol Somay at 804-692-3559 or by email errol.somay@lva.virginia.gov .

 … read more »

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Titanic Daily Coverage, Times Dispatch Tuesday-Sunday 4/16-4/21/1912

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